A vegan diet excludes all foods and products that come from animals. According to The Vegetarian Resource Group, vegans do not eat meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy or honey. Vegans also avoid any personal hygiene products, such as soap, that are derived from animal sources. Additionally, they do not wear silk, wool, leather or fur. As of January 2011, almost 2 million Americans are vegan. A healthy vegan diet must include a variety of grains, vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts. You may have concerns about meeting all of your nutritional requirements following a vegan diet -- with good reason. Many people lose weight when they transition to a vegan lifestyle, eating fewer calories and eliminating vital nutrients. Fortunately, a single date has more than 60 calories -- more than an entire small apple. Harvard University estimates that 75 percent of vegans do not get enough calcium in their diets and "have a relatively high rate of bone fractures." Tahini, made from sesame seeds, contains 65 mg of calcium per tbsp. and adds much needed protein and healthy fat to your diet.
Add 500 calories to your diet every day to gain about 1 lb. per week. It takes a 3,500-calorie surplus to add 1 lb. to your body weight. You may want to keep a food journal and note how many calories you consume -- and to ensure that you are eating enough different types of food to meet all your nutritional needs.
Eat five Medjool dates each day, for an extra 300 calories. Medjool dates are very sweet and make an excellent dessert without adding extra sugar. Although you are increasing your calorie intake to gain weight, you want to eat nutrient-dense foods -- not empty calories.
Make date macaroons by combining a banana, 1.5 cups of coconut flakes and 8 dates in a food processor, blending until smooth. Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls, place on a cookie sheet and bake in a 325 degree Fahrenheit oven for 15 minutes. This makes approximately 15 cookies, and each cookie has 100 calories.
Add 2 or 3 tbsp. of tahini into your diet daily. Tahini is a savory spread made from ground sesame seeds and olive oil. Every tablespoon has almost 90 calories, 3 g of protein, 8 g of unsaturated fat and almost no sugar. Both protein and healthy fats will help you gain weight.
Make your own tahini by toasting 5 cups of sesame seeds in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for eight minutes. Be careful not to let them brown or burn. Allow the sesame seeds to cool, and blend them with 1.5 cups of olive oil. You should end up with 4 cups of a thick, but pourable, liquid.
Use tahini as a dip for roasted eggplant or mix tahini with lemon juice and use it as a salad dressing.